The Drill: Trojans’ Svalland plays hard, and strives for success

WORTHINGTON -- The first few words purporting to describe Worthington High School senior Austin Svalland in his Globe All-Area football bio reads, "An outstanding leader who played with passion."...

Austin Svalland Drill web 05 29 19.jpg

WORTHINGTON -- The first few words purporting to describe Worthington High School senior Austin Svalland in his Globe All-Area football bio reads, “An outstanding leader who played with passion.”

If Svalland’s high school sports career could actually be summed up in just a few words, that might be a good place to start. During the football season, Worthington’s ready and willing All-Big South Conference linebacker was a playmaker, finishing the season with 69 tackles, including 12.5 for losses.

Looking back -- and also looking forward -- the blonde-haired Trojan recalled something he learned from his head coach, Geno Lais. “The best advice I’ve gotten is from Coach Lais. He always said, ‘Don’t accept OK.’ … He said, ‘No matter if you fail or succeed, just never accept OK.’”

Svalland, a wide-ranging center-fielder for the Worthington High School baseball team, has taken that mantra with him into the spring. Tonight (Wednesday), the sixth-seeded Trojans are set to play an elimination bracket Section 2AAA game with seventh-seeded Faribault at Johnson Park in New Ulm. The locals can’t afford to lose. A win, however, would keep their season alive.

Even with a victory, it will be difficult for the Trojans to successfully wade through the 2AAA field for a championship waiting for them in the end. But OK isn’t good enough, you know.


Svalland, who plans to play some American Legion baseball this summer, and also some amateur ball, took a few moments from his senior prep baseball season recently to cooperate for a session of The Drill. You can see the video online at . Here’s a sample of the interview:

QUESTION: Head WHS baseball coach Brian Iverson says you’re a very hard worker and you don’t like to fail. Would you say you’ve got a fire in you?

ANSWER: “I do have a fire in me. I’ve always had it, I think. I kind of want to be on top of everything. I don’t like striking out, I don’t like failing. If I’m trying as hard as I can and I do fail, I see that as a way of going out there next time and doing better.”

QUESTION: How do you stay sharp?

ANSWER: “When Coach Sauerbrei (longtime WHS baseball coach Stacy Sauerbrei, who stepped aside for 2019 to deal with health issues) was here, he kind of told me, ‘If you’re in a little slump, you gotta put one down the third base line. You’re fast, you can bunt, that’s the way of getting self-confidence. It’s all in the head,’ he told me. And it is all in the head.”

QUESTION: In baseball, what are you the best at?

ANSWER: “In the field, I’m fast. So that’s a big advantage in center-field. I think the best thing I’m at is not quite hitting, but when I get on base I’m really good at running the bases. I know I can usually steal second every single time. Pretty often, I’m on third.”


Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at
What To Read Next
It's been a struggle for the Minnesota West men's basketball team this winter, but coach Brian Stoebner's Bluejays keep plugging away
Former JCC sports star Rudy Voss retires from SDSU football for medical reasons
ST. CLOUD -- The Minnesota West women’s basketball team eased to victory over host St. Cloud Tech on Saturday, 93-40. But it was St. Cloud Tech getting the better of the West men’s team, 84-64.
WORTHINGTON -- Morris-Benson started well in both games, sweeping the Worthington Trojans girls and boys hockey teams on Saturday.